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Vatican abuse trial: Witnesses say allegations about youth seminary were ignored…

Vatican City, Feb 25, 2021 / 08:00 am MT (CNA).- Witnesses at the fifth hearing in a trial for alleged abuse and cover-up at a Vatican youth seminary testified on Wednesday to an unhealthy culture of ridicule and abuse of power. The witnesses also alleged that reports of sexual abuse were ignored or dismissed by authority figures, including the cardinal in charge of St. Peter’s Basilica.  Three former students at the Pius X pre-seminary testified before the city state’s court on Feb. 24 that the environment was “unhealthy,” indicating that taunts of a sexual nature were common and that they had witnessed one of the accused grope the genitals of other students. The three witnesses also alleged that reports of abuse were known by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the archpriest o...

German Catholic bishops call for change to Catechism on homosexuality…

MAINZ, Germany — A German Catholic bishop has publicly defended his support for a book of blessings and rites for homosexual unions. Bishop Peter Kohlgraf of Mainz also suggested that Catholics with homosexual inclinations cannot all be expected to live chastely and the Church should adopt a pastoral approach that acknowledges this. “Quite a few people who have homosexual attractions belong to the Church and are truly pious in the best sense of the word,” Bishop Peter Kohlgraf of Mainz wrote in a column for his diocesan newspaper that was also published on the diocese’s website, with the headline “Don’t ignore science,” on Feb. 3.  “As to the demand for chastity: what does it mean from the perspective of people who experience same-sex attraction? I think that few of them would conside...

Health secretary nominee Xavier Becerra grilled on partial-birth abortion, taxpayer-funded abortion…

Washington D.C., Feb 23, 2021 / 11:00 am MT (CNA).- President Biden’s nominee for health secretary on Tuesday would not commit to preventing federal funding of abortions, and would not say why he once opposed a partial-birth abortion ban. Appearing before members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on Tuesday, California’s attorney general Xavier Becerra would not answer why he voted against a partial-birth abortion ban in 2003, while a U.S. congressman. If confirmed as health secretary, Becerra said he would try to find “common ground” with those whom he disagreed with on the issue. “I think we can find some common ground on these issues, because everyone wants to make sure that, if you have an opportunity, you’re going to live a healthy life,” Becerra said i...

Supreme Court will hear case on federal funding of pro-abortion groups…

Washington D.C., Feb 22, 2021 / 10:00 am MT (CNA).- The Supreme Court will consider a case involving federal funding of domestic pro-abortion groups. The court on Monday morning granted petition to review a case about the Trump administration’s Protect Life Rule. The Baltimore mayor and city council challenged the rule, supported by a number of states and pro-abortion groups. According to SCOTUSBlog, the case will be argued in the fall of 2021. The 2019 rule of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) prohibited grant recipients in the federal Title X family planning program from referring for abortions, or being co-located with abortion facilities. The rule was meant to implement the program’s original stated purpose that funds would not be used for abortion as a method of family...

Pope’s Sunday Angelus: Christian life ‘is a battle against the spirit of evil’…

Vatican City, Feb 21, 2021 / 05:35 am MT (CNA).- Like Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert, Christians must be prepared to battle evil, knowing that “with faith, prayer, and penance,” the victory is assured, Pope Francis said Sunday. In his weekly Angelus address, the pope reflected on the day’s Gospel reading from St. Mark, which says “the Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.” During these 40 days, which take place immediately after Christ’s baptism, “the ‘duel’ between Jesus and the devil begins, which will end with the Passion and the Cross,” Francis said Feb. 21. “Christ’s entire ministry is a struggle against the Evil One in its many manifestations: healing from illnesses, exorcising the possessed, forgiving sins. ...

Pope Francis accepts resignation of Cardinal Sarah from Congregation for Divine Worship…

Cardinal Sarah said in a Tweet Feb. 20 that Pope Francis had accepted his resignation after his 75th birthday. VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Saturday accepted the resignation of Cardinal Robert Sarah as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Cardinal Sarah, who turned 75 in June 2020, was the most senior African prelate at the Vatican, appointed head of the liturgy department by Pope Francis in November 2014. He had previously served as the president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum and as secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. The Guinean cardinal has written a trilogy of books read widely throughout the Catholic world: God or Nothing (2015), The Power of Silence (2016), and The Day Is Now Far Spent (2019). Cardina...

More eyewitness accounts emerge of massacre at shrine of purported Ark of the Covenant in Ethiopia…

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Bodies with gunshot wounds lay in the streets for days in Ethiopia’s holiest city. At night, residents listened in horror as hyenas fed on the corpses of people they knew. But they were forbidden from burying their dead by the invading Eritrean soldiers. Those memories haunt a deacon at the country’s most sacred Ethiopian Orthodox church in Axum, where local faithful believe the ancient Ark of the Covenant is housed. As Ethiopia’s Tigray region slowly resumes telephone service after three months of conflict, the deacon and other witnesses gave The Associated Press a detailed account of what might be its deadliest massacre. ADVERTISEMENT For weeks, rumors circulated that something ghastly had occurred at the Church of St. Mary of Zion in late November, with estimates o...

Cardinal says Vatican employees could lose jobs for refusing COVID-19 vaccine…

In January, the city state began offering the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine to employees, residents, and Holy See officials. VATICAN CITY — In a decree issued earlier this month, the cardinal who heads the Vatican City State said that employees who refuse to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when deemed necessary for their work could face penalties up to termination of employment. The Feb. 8 decree from Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Pontifical Commission of Vatican City State, gave Vatican employees, citizens, and officials of the Roman Curia regulations to follow intended to control the spread of the coronavirus on Vatican territory, such as wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing. Failure to follow the regulations could result in fines. “The health emergency must be address...

Report: Vatican not mentioned in China’s new rules on bishop appointments…

Washington D.C., Feb 15, 2021 / 05:00 pm MT (CNA).- According to new rules which will reportedly take effect on May 1, China’s state-run Catholic Church and bishops’ conference will select, approve, and ordain episcopal candidates—with no mention of the Vatican’s involvement in the process. China’s new “Administrative Measures for Religious Clergy” will go into effect on May 1. The rules were translated by the magazine Bitter Winter, which reports on religious freedom conditions in China. Under the new rules, the state-run Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) will be responsible for selecting episcopal candidates. The candidates will then be “approved and consecrated by the Chinese Catholic Bishops’ Conference.” The rules do not mention any role of the Vatican in approving bishops...

Fury in the UK at ‘do not resuscitate’ notices given to COVID-19 patients with learning disabilities…

People with learning disabilities have been given do not resuscitate orders during the second wave of the pandemic, in spite of widespread condemnation of the practice last year and an urgent investigation by the care watchdog. Mencap said it had received reports in January from people with learning disabilities that they had been told they would not be resuscitated if they were taken ill with Covid-19. The Care Quality Commission said in December that inappropriate Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) notices had caused potentially avoidable deaths last year. DNACPRs are usually made for people who are too frail to benefit from CPR, but Mencap said some seem to have been issued for people simply because they had a learning disability. The CQC is due to publish a report on...

Pope’s Sunday Angelus: Remember the ‘nearness, compassion, tenderness’ of God…

Vatican City, Feb 14, 2021 / 07:00 am MT (CNA).- Pope Francis on Sunday urged people to remember the closeness, compassion, and tenderness of God. Speaking before the midday Angelus on Feb. 14, the pope reflected on the day’s Gospel reading (Mark 1:40-45), in which Jesus heals a man with leprosy. Noting that Christ broke a taboo by reaching out and touching the man, he said: “He drew near… Nearness. Compassion. The Gospel says that Jesus, seeing the leper, was moved with compassion, tenderness. Three words that indicate God’s style: nearness, compassion, tenderness.”  The pope said that by healing the man who was considered “unclean,” Jesus fulfilled the Good News that He announced. “God draws near to our lives, he is moved to compassion because of the fate of wounded humanity and com...

YouTube’s permanent ban on LifeSiteNews prompts censorship concerns…

WASHINGTON — YouTube has banned the pro-life group LifeSiteNews for alleged misinformation about COVID-19, prompting concerns about censorship and free debate. One ethicist at the National Catholic Bioethics Center did not agree with LifeSiteNews’ presentation of the science and ethics involved in the COVID-19 vaccines, but he defended the organization’s presence on YouTube, which receives over 2 billion logged-in users each month. “The National Catholic Bioethics Center condemns the arbitrary decision of YouTube to censor content simply because they find it disagreeable or in opposition to their own political views,” Edward Furton, an ethicist at the National Catholic Bioethics Center, told CNA Feb. 11.  “YouTube is not staffed by scientists, but by engineers and technicians who unde...